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IPM Policy for Indoor Pest Control

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a protocol that encourages the use of least toxic alternatives first (see below), and the use of more toxic alternatives only as a last resort.

IPM is most appropriate for indoor use because of the plentiful opportunities for non-toxic pest mitigation which it promotes, and the significant health implications of using toxic pesticides inside where people live, work, eat and play.

Sealing pest access routes, removing their food sources, improving housekeeping and using non-toxic methods such as diatomaceous earth (DE) and boric acid can all contribute to significant reductions in indoor pest problems.


Least toxic pesticides include boric acid, desiccant dusts (diatomaceous earth and silica gel), non-volatile insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers (or for crack and crevice treatment), microbe-based pesticides, pesticides made with essential oils (not including pyrethrums) without toxic synergists, and materials for which the inert ingredients are non-toxic and fully disclosed. 

The term 'least toxic pesticides' does not include a pesticide that is:

  • determined by EPA to be a possible, probable, or known carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, reproductive toxin, developmental neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, or immune system toxin;

  • a pesticide in EPA's toxicity category I or II; and

  • any application of the pesticide using a broadcast spray, dust, tenting, fogging, or baseboard spray application.

    Thanks to our friends at Beyond Pesticides for this guidance. 

Ross, CA has a comprehensive policy for indoor IPM, and also designates turf grass areas, playgrounds, and picnic table areas on town property as pesticide free.

Needham, MA includes extensive information about IPM on its website, including policy goals, practices, and selection guidelines.


The Centers for Disease Control provides multiple resources on IPM, including free online training emphasizing the use of integrated pest management to address public health pests and vectors that spread diseases.


Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit and recognized leader in pesticide reduction, outlines the attributes of a good indoor IPM program and educates about chemical dependent programs masquerading as IPM.

EPA’s introduction to IPM reviews the basic principles of this methodology, with a focus on pest prevention.

For more information on the health implications of exposure to pesticides, please see the web pages of Grassroots Environmental Education


[1] Abrol, D. P., & Shankar, U. (2016). Integrated Pest Management. Breeding Oilseed Crops for Sustainable Production, 523-549.


[2] Wang, C., et al. (2009). Evaluation of Two Least Toxic Integrated Pest Management Programs for Managing Bed Bugs (Heteroptera: Cimicidae) With Discussion of a Bed Bug Interrupting Device. Journal of Medical Entomology, 46(3), 566-571.

[3] University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. (1996) 57 Ways - 49. Control Household Pests with Less Toxic Alternatives.

[4] Zhang, Y. C., et al. (2005). Sub-lethal exposure of cockroaches to boric acid pesticide contributes to increased Bla g 2 excretion. Allergy, 60(7), 965-968.

[5] Aak, A., et al.  (2016). Desiccant dust and the use of CO2 gas as a mobility stimulant for bed bugs: A potential control solution? Journal of Pest Science, 90(1), 249-259.

[6] Takacs, S., et al. (2018). New food baits for trapping house mice, black rats, and brown rats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 200, 130-135.

[7] Sadaria, A. M., et al. (2016). Passage of fiproles and imidacloprid from urban pest control uses through wastewater treatment plants in northern California, USA. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 36(6), 1473-1482. 

[8] Bahsan, Y., et al. (2016). A need for disclosure of the identity of microorganisms, constituents, and application methods when reporting tests with microbe-based or pesticide-based products. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 52(3), 283-284.

9] Cloyd, R. A., et al. (2009). Effect of Commercially Available Plant-Derived Essential Oil Products on Arthropod Pests. Journal of Economic Entomology, 102(4), 1567-1579.

[10] The American Cancer Society. (2013). Known and Probable Human Carcinogens.

[11] United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2018). Evaluating Developmental Neurotoxicity Hazard: Better than Before.

[12] United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2004). Chemical Hazard Classification and Labeling: Comparison of OPP Requirements and GHS (Rep.). Washington, D.C.: United States Environmental Protection Agency, 22.


[13] University of Kentucky Department of Entomology. (2016). Pesticide Application Equipment and Methods (Rep.). Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Pesticide Education Program.

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